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Market towns given a ‘Confidence’ boost

Market towns across South Norfolk, Broadland and Breckland have been given a confidence boost ahead of Monday’s reopening of non-essential retail.

Working closely with town councils, traders and business groups, a range of measures have been put in place across the districts’ market towns to ensure they continue to be vibrant and safe places to shop in spite of the pandemic.

The aim is to encourage footfall to return to pre-Covid levels as quickly as possible and get cash in traders’ tills and back into the local economy.

The “Shop with Confidence” initiative is the first visible part of a much wider “Do Business with Confidence” campaign to support every business and every job possible within the districts during the Covid recovery phase.

Each market town has had a bespoke plan developed. Measures include:

  • The installation of hand sanitising stations and social distancing signage.
  • The installation of extra seating and planters.
  • Extra bike racks to encourage more people to cycle.
  • Temporary changes to parking and, in some instances, temporary traffic restrictions.

Where temporary traffic restrictions have been in place residents and businesses will still have the access they need while at the same time allowing pedestrians to walk with safety over a wider area of the high street. 

Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of Breckland Council, said: “Our market towns are the beating heart of our communities and it has been a challenge for everybody, especially our traders, to see them so quiet over the past few months. With the easing of lockdown restrictions we are seizing the initiative and harnessing the determination of our businesses to not only bounce back from the pandemic but ensure our towns benefit from a positive lasting legacy.”

Cllr John Fuller, Leader of South Norfolk District Council, said: “The success of our local economy is what will drive our districts’ recovery from this crisis. It is vital that we support every job and every business possible. Our aim is for them not only to survive but thrive and create future economic growth. That is why we have mobilised a total council approach to supporting the business community.”

Cllr Shaun Vincent, Leader of Broadland District Council, said: “The economy of our districts is diverse and includes retail, agriculture, tech, manufacturing and, of course, tourism.

“The Shop with Confidence initiative is an early visible demonstration of our resolve to help every sector and as restrictions are eased further, and more businesses trade once again, we will continue to step up to support them.”

Businesses across the districts have already been written to with details of the help on offer. This includes:

  • Advice and support for every business that wants it.
  • Regulatory support and advice regarding social distancing and other Covid-19 related issues.
  • Financial support including the discretionary business support grant.
  • Helping shops and the hospitality sector re-open in a clean, safe and vibrant environment.